What I'm Reading

What are you reading and/or excited about!

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Re: What I'm Reading

Postby bakamatt » Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:30 am

It's an understatement to say that tailored online advertising hasn't achieved its full potential yet. But Barnes & Noble finally got it exactly right this week, notifying me that new volumes of Nisekoi and Ancient Magus' Bride are scheduled to ship (not that I didn't already know that) and not mentioning any titles that I have no interest in.
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Re: What I'm Reading

Postby bakamatt » Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:48 pm

A fairly hefty week at Barnes & Noble: in addition to the above mentioned Nisekoi volume 22 and AMB volume seven, I got volume one of Alice and Zoroku (I'm going to go back to the anime one day), and volume one of a shoujo ai title called Kase-san because I thought the characters were drawn so darn cute. Also one domestic sf prose novel, but no one here cares about that.

I read about halfway through the Nisekoi while I could still pretend I was at lunch; I believe it's going to wrap up Marika's story line. I still don't like her, but she comes off very well in this volume, at least so far. Japanese popular media have a kind of story I want to call "action sentimental", and this book is a perfect example: supposed normal people doing the impossible through the strength of their hearts. And, holy cow, Tsugumi gets to really cut loose. She's easily my second favorite girl in the series after Onodera; as my favorites, it's interesting to observe that they have almost nothing in common.

As a side note, I stopped for a look at that Lagann (as in Gurren Lagann) sculpture Shawn mentioned. That really is what it is, a Lagann made of paper at maybe 1:3 scale. I gather Oak Park is using that display space to host "visiting artists", and that's a project by the current one. No more details that that, though.
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Re: What I'm Reading

Postby bakamatt » Sun Jul 09, 2017 7:40 am

One manga title B&N has gotten really sloppy about supporting is Genshiken: Second Season. I generally have to include it in a Right Stuf order.

And, as I've said before, if I wasn't so fond of the original Genshiken, I wouldn't be reading Second Season: it's just as mean as ever.

But, dang, this issue is a freaking orgy of interpersonal revelations: everybody's telling everybody all kinds of things, mostly to create mischief. Potent stuff, but I sure wish it was being wielded for good instead of evil.
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Re: What I'm Reading

Postby bakamatt » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:19 am

There were seventeen months (November 2015 - July 2017) between volumes nine and ten (the final one) of The Sacred Blacksmith! Was it worth the wait? Not a bit. All it's really got going for it is lots pretty girls. If I need to free up shelf space, it'll be one of the first to go.
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Re: What I'm Reading

Postby bakamatt » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:22 pm

The gap between volumes 12 and 13 (just out) of Spice & Wolf was pretty crazy too; I think it was more than fourteen months. I believe I'm going to want to go back and re-read all the previous volumes first.

I don't understand publishing, but I understand it can be crazy. I knew a guy back in my San Diego days who'd sold some novels; on one occasion one of his books was in the stores before he got a signed contract with the publisher.
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Re: What I'm Reading

Postby Tsunami3k » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:14 pm

bakamatt wrote:The gap between volumes 12 and 13 (just out) of Spice & Wolf was pretty crazy too; I think it was more than fourteen months. I believe I'm going to want to go back and re-read all the previous volumes first.

I don't understand publishing, but I understand it can be crazy. I knew a guy back in my San Diego days who'd sold some novels; on one occasion one of his books was in the stores before he got a signed contract with the publisher.

I gather that the series effectively ended at 12 and that 13 begins a new era of sorts so perhaps there was some though of ending things there. But if DBZ taught us anything, it's that nobody wants to stop the gravy train while the franchise is still hot. Thankfully I have every expectation that the mangaka is willing and capable of continuing the story effectively.
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Re: What I'm Reading

Postby bakamatt » Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:13 pm

For the third time in as many weeks, I've had a gap of over a year between volumes of a manga: thirteen months between A Certain Scientific Railgun 11 and 12.

In theory I think I understand what the deal is. The publishers want their new titles to hook readers, so they get priority in their schedule and I get spoiled to get a new volume every two or three months, for a while. I supposed the assumption is that if you've collected a title for six or more volumes, you're a fan and you'll pick up later ones whenever they show up.

And I can't argue; that's what I've done. But it is getting a little tired. My manga checklist has several more titles for which I don't know when the next volume will ship than ones where I do know. Not an inspiring situation.
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Re: What I'm Reading

Postby bakamatt » Mon Jul 31, 2017 7:55 am

I've finally run out of steam on In/Spectre with volume five. As much as I like the art, it is just so damn talky. I kind of feel that they're trying for the Death Note market: "detective" sorts of characters who can only win because the writer is on their side to an absurd degree, and spend too much of their time gloating about how clever they are.
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Re: What I'm Reading

Postby bakamatt » Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:33 am

As I kvetched a while ago, there was fifteen months between Spice & Wolf volumes 12 and 13. So I decided to go back and re-read the prior twelve before looking at the new one.

S&W is such a freaking weird title. "A traveling merchant and a wolf fertility spirit travel a pseudo-Elizabethean northern Europe, having adventures and talking about economics." It absolutely runs hot and cold for me; by and large I couldn't care less about the financial aspects of the stories, but I like the cast and the art more than well enough to carry me through.

Even though there's an awful lot of places where things get lost in translation or are too Japanese for me to understand. At least twice per volume Lawrence and Holo have a bit of dialogue where each says something and then they both laugh or get mad, and I'm left with, "Huh? What just happened? What did that mean?"

Or maybe that's an expression of the romance that grows between them. It is a really pretty romance, and I like it, maybe because it's weird too. There's a sexual aspect - Holo has no nudity taboo and she is a fertility spirit - and there's a respect aspect that keeps things from turning physical. Or is it just fear of intimacy or commitment? But as of volume 13 they seem to have achieved an almost unspoken understanding of some sort. Or perhaps rather than "unspoken", "talked all around". Though it's not at all clear how they got there.

One feature of the title that I appreciate: Holo can transform to an extremely powerful form, but that's often not how problems get solved or threats neutralized. At a rough guess, she's only done it three times so far. Her super-acute senses have been useful as often, or more.

Which suggests another feature of the odd, disciplined nature of the title: there's this one really potent magic entity in what seems to be an otherwise magic-free setting. Ultimately, everything in the story is suborned to the needs of the relationship between Lawrence and Holo.

At any rate, I find myself appreciating the title more having marathoned through those first thirteen volumes. And I regret how long I expect it's going to take for volume 14 to appear.
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Re: What I'm Reading

Postby bakamatt » Wed Aug 23, 2017 1:00 pm

So, very much the opposite of the previous post, either I got it wrong, Rightstuf got it wrong, or Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid volume 4 shipped more than a month early: I showed it streeting on September 26 but picked it up today.
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Re: What I'm Reading

Postby bakamatt » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:10 pm

I got volume 1 of Generation Witch on a whim. Turned out, I liked it pretty well.

It's about witches, you'll gather, in a place and time a lot like the here and now. It appears to be an anthology: four stories about characters that, apparently, have nothing to do with one another. (A format I haven't seen since Boys Be.) Two stories were kind of funny, and two kind of sad. The art is appealing, apart from a few lapses in anatomy. I'll certainly be looking for volume two.
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Re: What I'm Reading

Postby bakamatt » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:50 pm

Unexpectedly good week. My Hero Academia 10 shipped a week early, the DanMachi spin-off manga Sword Oratoria volume 1 is out, and I'm taking a look at Gabriel Dropout volume 1 on spec.

Spice & Wolf 14 was scheduled to ship and didn't, but that's not surprising.

As usual, release dates are based on RightStuf's schedule but refer to when I find them at Barnes & Noble Oak Park.
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Re: What I'm Reading

Postby Tsunami3k » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:24 pm

bakamatt wrote:Unexpectedly good week. My Hero Academia 10 shipped a week early, the DanMachi spin-off manga Sword Oratoria volume 1 is out, and I'm taking a look at Gabriel Dropout volume 1 on spec.

Spice & Wolf 14 was scheduled to ship and didn't, but that's not surprising.

As usual, release dates are based on RightStuf's schedule but refer to when I find them at Barnes & Noble Oak Park.

I got my Spice & Wolf #14 on Monday so they're definitely working through the preorders.

I've considered taking the plunge on the MHA manga since the series is so good but is it appreciably different from the anime?
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Re: What I'm Reading

Postby bakamatt » Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:05 am

Tsunami3k wrote:I've considered taking the plunge on the MHA manga since the series is so good but is it appreciably different from the anime?


The only significant difference I can recall noting is that the manga occasionally fleshes out incidents that don't get much screen time, or even get hand-waved, in the anime. Which I think I always felt was a good thing. You may remember I've expressed occasional reservations about the pacing of the anime, for all that it's still a favorite.

Also, as with any story that has a big cast, I find it easier to learn the characters from a print version.

Well, okay, and that one onsen panel that might still show up in the anime since it's farther along in the story... (Yowza!)

So my opinion is, yes, it's a bit different, and in good ways.
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Re: What I'm Reading

Postby bakamatt » Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:08 am

Gabriel Dropout is kind of cute, at least after one volume. There isn't much story; each chapter is pretty much a self-contained joke.

The short version: something like "what if Belldandy came to earth, and turned into a slacker gamer?"
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